Politics

AirAsia Philippines still working to restore pre-pandemic fleet

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REUTERS

LOW-COST airline AirAsia Philippines said it plans to increase its operational aircraft to 24 from 16 as part of its recovery efforts this year.

“Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will have 24 to 25 operating aircraft,” AirAsia Philippines said in a statement to reporters on Tuesday.

 AirAsia Philippines operated 24 planes in 2019, or before the pandemic. Currently, the airline has 16 operating aircraft, with another one set to be operational by the first or second week of February, the company said.

“It’s a bit challenging because of the MROs (maintenance, repair, and overhaul services) since there is a long line of airlines. Our goal for the first and second quarters is the reactivation of our fleet, returning to pre-pandemic levels,” the airline said.

The airline is looking to reopen and add more domestic and international routes this year,  according to AirAsia Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo P. Isla.

These include flights to Dumaguete and Zamboanga, as well as international flights such as Manila-Taipei-Okinawa and vice versa, Vietnam, Australia, and Fukuoka in Japan.

“We just have to do our basic task of bringing back as many aircraft as we can at least on a 2019 level. That’s the most important. Right now, we haven’t fully maximized the international market,” Mr. Isla said.

The airline is awaiting the delivery of two Airbus A321s scheduled in November and December to bolster its current fleet.

“The additional 321s will allow us to have more capacity in the routes that we fly,” AirAsia Philippines said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave